University of Colorado

The INVST Community Leadership Program


RETURNS Newsletter Fall 2012

In this issue...

INVST Grads Honor Midwives

The Style of Responsibility

The Flight Across America

INVST Grows Our Outreach Team

Public Achievement Turns Five

First Year Internships

Community SOL Projects

Update from One of INVST’s Founders

Alumni Updates

A Reflection on Opportunities Opened Up by INVST



Please join us for an open discussion about INVST's name. We would like to hear from you!

On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 from 6 - 8 pm in UMC 245 on the CU campus, join us for a community conversation.

The INVST Community Leadership Program develops community leaders who engage in compassionate action as a lifetime commitment. Through a combination of theory, skills and community service, young people learn to be effective and responsible community leaders.

Since 1990, we have been developing University of Colorado students into engaged citizens and leaders who work for the benefit of humanity and the environment. In order to fulfill our mission, Community Studies also offers three other programs:

--Our Community Studies Electives foster civic responsibility and leadership potential.
--Our Youth Council for Public Policy empowers students to use the democratic process as a tool for positive social change.
--Our newest program involves mentors in Public Achievement with local primary and secondary school students in the City of Boulder and Lafayette, CO in order to meet civic challenges and solve problems.

The RETURNS Newsletter, founded in 1995, is dedicated with love to those who have graduated from the INVST Community Leadership Program. For more information, please visit:

Find us on Facebook: INVST
Follow us on Twitter: @invst_cu

INVST Grads Honor Midwives

Elly Goetz (INVST Class of 2003) is the Executive Director of Un Mundo, which has worked since 1995 with isolated communities along the Honduran North Coast. Among various other projects, Un Mundo works within its own community to create Viva La Partera, or “Long-Live the Midwife.” The initiative works to unify local midwives and traditional birth attendants to provide them with training while honoring their decades of work experience, ultimately leading to improved maternal health in the area.   

Other INVST alumni currently working with Un Mundo include Jamie Rezmovits, Un Mundo Board President (INVST Class of 2002), Colleen O'Holleran, Un Mundo Board Member (INVST Class of 2002), and Alicia Conte, Un Mundo volunteer for the Midwife Project (INVST Class of 2011).

Sarah Kraft (INVST Class of 2001) is the Executive Director of Midwife International, which she co-founded in 2008 with the vision of creating a worldwide network of midwife training sites that provide critical training alongside leadership and community development practice. In 2008, Sarah invited Sierra Brashear (INVST Class of 2008) to join the team, and the two have been working side-by-side to identify and enroll the rapidly expanding organization’s first in-coming class. In 2013, the program will send student midwives to learn and serve at birth clinics around the world where maternal healthcare risks are high. Most recently, Sinead Maguire (INVST Class of 2012) has joined Sarah and Sierra in Midwife International’s office in Boulder to ensure the program gets filled with students.

It was during a blizzard one evening last winter that Elly and Sierra met to discuss their recent work, and light bulbs went off. The opportunity for collaboration seemed obvious, so the two organizations developed and solidified a formal partnership. 

The Viva La Partera project is a truly community-led initiative that provides entry-level midwifery students with the opportunity to work alongside and learn from elder midwives, while immersing in rigorous midwifery book study, and delving into community leadership theory and practice. To learn more or apply, please visit Midwife International.

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The Style of Responsibility

By Aleiya Evison, Youth Global Leadership

Sarah SchnallOn Saturday, February 4, an excited group gathered at the modern, chic Absinthe House in Boulder. Club music palpated the air as guests took their seats, anticipating the fashion show. Boulder is not necessarily known for being fashion-forward, but for this event, two organizations, INVST and Un Mundo, used fashion as a tool to create awareness.

Beautiful CU students of all sizes modeled an array of designs from ecologically conscious and sustainable clothing stores in Boulder. These stores included Umba, ARES, Hip Consignment, Common Era, TATTERDAMELION, Si/See, Ties to Africa, Rags and Plato’s Closet.

Photographers’ flash bulbs captured the runway as co-hosts Brittni Hernandez and Kyle Huelsman (INVST Class of 2011) discussed the importance of checking labels. Throughout the night, guests learned some hard truths about the fashion industry, and how wearing sustainable clothing can contribute to social and environmental justice.

The evening’s intent was to create a sense of responsibility within the Boulder community, and encourage people to consider responsible options when updating their wardrobes. Some suggestions for more deliberate shopping included going to consignment stores, avoiding supporting sweat shops, and consciously choosing shops that focus on fair fashion. A live auction followed the main event. Proceeds from the evening support the future projects and endeavors of both INVST and Un Mundo. The next ethical fashion show will be in November, 2013. Please plan on joining us in Boulder!

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The Flight Across America

By Arielle Powers (Class of 2013)

Eco Flight advocates for the protection of remaining wild lands and wildlife habitat through the use of small aircraft. The aerial perspective and educational programs encourage an environmental stewardship ethic.
INVST has given me many tools that will help me to get the most out of this experience. During my time in the program, I have learned how to ask strategic questions, to listen deeply, and the importance of sharing knowledge - for knowledge is truly powerful in changing and shaping the world we live in. I grew up in Colorado, so this river is a part of my life in complex ways, and I hope that expanding my knowledge about the Colorado River Basin and the states it supports will give me opportunities to share with my communities, to educate those who wish to listen, and to inspire me in my future. Not only do I plan to write a Letter to the Editor or an article for a local newspaper to disseminate the knowledge I gain, but I hope to write stories about the experience as well, and seek other opportunities to expand my own knowledge, share what I have learned, and maybe even work with an existing organization to address the pressing issue of water conservation.

Arielle Powers (INVST Class of 2013) and Cayte Bosler (Class of 2012) have been chosen to participate in the Flight Across America with an Aspen-based non-profit that provides education opportunities to INVST students. They are following in the footsteps of two students who participated last year, Xavier Rojas (Class of 2013) and Ashley Basta (Class of 2012). Ashley went on to work with Eco Flight as their employee! 

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INVST Grows Our Outreach Team

Thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, INVST has a grant that we have used to hire 3 interns this semester, who are working in October & November to get the word out about INVST. Meet Dana, Tamora & Steven:

"Hi! My name is Dana Goodwin and I am very excited to be working as one of the Outreach and Inclusion interns for INVST this semester. I was a member of the INVST Class of 2013, Ripple Fever, and had an inspiring and life-changing two years being a part of this community. Even though I only completed the CLP a few months ago, I have been itching to get involved with INVST again. I am grateful for the growth that I gained and want as many other people as possible to experience the same kind of empowerment.”

"Hello, Everyone! My name is Tamora Tanniehill and I am a fourth-year student at CU-Boulder and one of three interns at INVST. Currently I am working on getting my Bachelors in Psychology as well as Women and Gender Studies. I’m really looking forward to spreading the word about INVST.”

"My name is Steven Gordy and I am from Westminster, Colorado. I am currently a second-year CU student, studying Sociology and Communications with the possible intention of going into counseling to help promote higher education for low resourced students. I am very excited to be on the INVST outreach team because I know that it creates a close, safe community for students to feel welcomed, and being a freshman just a year ago, I understand that sometimes, that is hard to find on such a big campus."

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Public Achievement Turns Five

Public Achievement students
Public Achievement students from Centaurus High School and Columbine Elementary School lead an Anti Domestic Violence March in April 2012.

In practice, PA students collaborate with college “coaches” from CU to design, implement, and undertake community-based projects around salient social issues that are identified by them and express their own values and beliefs. 

In 2010, for example, PA students coordinated a ten-mile march from Boulder to Lafayette to both celebrate the legacy of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez and raise awareness of immigration issues.  Students have also created public murals to promote peace and inclusion, coordinated school assemblies and community workshops on teen pregnancy and gang violence, created a book featuring the testimonials of domestic violence survivors, and developed public service announcements for the media to address a range of issues impacting youth.  As part of a larger campaign to raise awareness of the prevalence of teen depression and suicide, students created a series of ads on local buses in collaboration with the City of Boulder and the Second Wind Fund of Boulder County.  Concurrently, PA participants co-coordinate national service events on behalf of the City of Lafayette and participate in campus visits to support their role as emerging community leaders. 

INVST and IECE continue to answer calls from both the Boulder Valley School District and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County for program expansion.  Initially piloted at Centaurus High School, where 25 low-income high school freshmen and eight CU coaches participated in the program, PA currently operates at three schools, involving nearly 200 K-12 youth and more than 50 CU undergraduates.  In addition, the program continues to generate the support of multiple campus and community agencies, and has most recently joined forces with the School of Education to ensure PA emerges as a common practice in the Boulder County community. 

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First-Year Internships

INVST Class of 2014
This year, the INVST Class of 2014 is serving in a number of year-long community internships. This past summer, they participated in our Domestic Summer Service Learning Experience and learned about environmental sustainability, energy and power in the U.S. Southwest. We thank all those who helped make this possible!

Kelley Anderson is an intern with the Philanthropiece Foundation, which is building healthy and sustainable communities through community development and empowerment.

Bella Combest is an intern with the Patchwork School, a nonprofit, democratic school in Louisville, Colorado that is committed to preserving every person's right to a life of self-direction, meaning and joy.

Sienna Dellepiane is an intern with “I Have a Dream” of Boulder County, dedicated to helping low-income youth achieve a brighter future.

Hayley Dixon is an intern with Living City Block in Denver, whose mission is to create and implement a replicable, exportable, scalable and economically viable framework for the resource efficient regeneration of existing cities, one block at a time.

Rosie Dooley is interning with CoPIRG Energy Service Corps where she will be organizing energy efficiency awareness on campus by planning events.

Nina Holtz is interning with Circle of Care and managing the “Students for Seniors” club at CU. Nina intends to help strengthen intergenerational relationships in Boulder County.

Juedon Kebede is an intern with SORCE, the Student Outreach and Retention Center for Equity at CU. He is creating and directing a mentor program, while learning organizational and communication skills.

Kimberly Langona and Sarah Taggart are interns with Intercambio Uniting Communities, where they conduct interviews and motivate ESL students to continue advancing their English language skills.

Fiona Maguire and Turner Wyatt are both interns with Boulder Food Rescue, an organization committed to eliminating hunger and reducing food waste. Both students pick up discarded food and redistribute it by bicycle in Boulder County; Fiona is also helping with grant writing and media relations, and Turner is training new volunteers and helping to plan fundraising events.

Christina Nowak and Emma Ruffin are interning with The Second Kitchen, a food-buying cooperative that creates community through food mindfulness and appreciation.

Josh Rheingold is serving with the non-profit Boulder Integral, which seeks to address humanity's most complex problems by bringing together leaders from all arenas and across the world through research, education and events.

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Community SOL (Serving * Organizing * Leading) Projects, 2011-2012

Last year, while they were in their second year of our two-year training program, the Ripple Fever Class of 2012 completed a number of year-long community-based projects.

Cayte Bosler, Sofia Laguna and Maura McDanel collaborated with Circle of Care to create “Intergenerational Voices,” a project to bridge the intergenerational gap between young people and elders. They created an event at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Café to hear love stories from elderly folks and youth. They made a film of the event, and in the process, built intergenerational relationships and became more aware of issues facing senior citizens in Boulder County.

Edmon Garibyan, Samantha Paston and Renee Roberts created Project4Unity, an effort on campus to create more unity in the under-represented community at CU. They created a retreat and encouraged honest dialogue among the different CU student groups. They also made a video and promoted it on Facebook, in order to tie their goals for a more just and inclusive campus to the future alliance-building efforts of other CU student leaders.

Annunciation House Class of 2013
Euphoria and the Torrential Downpours, the INVST Class of 2013, participated in our International Summer Service Learning Experience in July and August. We thank all those who helped make this possible! Currently, the Class of 2013 is designing their Community SOL Projects.
Sally Anderson, Olivia Jones, Sinead Maguire, Sarah Ruebsamen and Carter Squires created the Boulder County Labor Justice Committee. While advocating for the fair and just treatment of all working people – especially immigrant works in our area – they helped workers reclaim unpaid wages owed to them. These INVST students also brought awareness to employers in Boulder County about the consequences of not paying their workers. Their community organization continues to thrive and has already won back thousands of dollars for workers! Read more about labor justice below.

Ashley Basta, Michael Gartman, Dana Goodwin, Kayla Kinch and Laura Riley created a people’s history of Valmont, Colorado, the farmland in East Boulder. They researched, wrote and published a book about the rich history of the farmers, families and small businesses, called “Rich in its Roots.” They also worked with the 63rd Street Farm, a 5-acre, family-owned farm in East Boulder, because they believe in organic farms being the answer to problems associated with industrial agriculture. These students called themselves the Valmont Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture.

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Update from One of INVST’s Founders

By Scott Myers-Lipton

Scott Myers-Lipton with SJSU studentsIn the fall of 2010, Marisela Castro, a student in my Wealth, Poverty, and Privilege course at SJSU, came up with the idea of starting a campaign to increase the minimum wage in Silicon Valley. Marisela was moved to action because she could no longer stand the injustice she was witnessing at the after-school program where she was working. Kids were sneaking food into their backpacks because the parents were making just $8 an hour, which wasn’t enough to provide food at home. In addition, parents had to work two jobs, making it difficult to provide the necessary support for their children to be successful in school. This social injustice drove Marisela to act, and the following semester, Marisela took a Social Action course and set a goal to increase the minimum wage to $10/hour in San Jose.

In the Social Action course, Marisela and several other students conducted background research, and they found that three cities had already increased their city-wide minimum wage: San Francisco ($10.24 an hour), Santa Fe ($10.29 an hour), and Washington, DC ($8.25 an hour). Research on the impact of a city-wide minimum wage showed that: (1) it helped low-wage workers pay for basic needs like food and rent, (2) it stimulated the local economy, since the people making the minimum wage spent these few extra dollars locally; (3) it did not increase unemployment, and (4) it did not hurt small businesses, because they generally passed on this cost by raising prices by a few percentage points.

The next year, students in my Social Action course continued working on the minimum wage campaign, raising money to conduct a poll, and then actually doing so. The following semester, additional Social Action students helped gather the 19,200 signatures needed to put the measure on the November 2012 ballot. While the SJSU students started this campaign, community organizations have played a crucial role. Today, we have the support of the faith, labor, and non-profit communities, including United Way, Catholic Charities, Silicon Valley of Non Profits, the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, and the South Bay Labor Council.

Our initiative is now Measure D, and the voters will decide on November 6th whether to increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour. We are working and fighting for fair wages!

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Alumni Updates

Don't see your update listed here? That's because we don't have something current for you. Please take a moment to fill out our survey. We will be sure to include your update in the next newsletter.

As a member of the INVST family, we hope you will consider making a donation to support the transformational learning experiences we offer. Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $5,000 in alumni donations, by June 1, 2013! Please visit and fill out a monthly pledge form for INVST fund # 01-22427, or call us at 303-492-7719!

(1992-1994) Fatty Willows

Mike Elias and Jenny Gardner live in Seattle, Washington with their 20-month-old daughter Sophia. Mike is founder and Chief Creative Officer of Kinetic Story, a marketing and design agency. Jenny Gardner is active in the Seattle volunteer and science education communities, most recently working as an exhibit developer for the Pacific Science Center and also as a beach coordinator for the Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalist Program.

(1993-1995) Fluxquitoes

Mikki Rhoades lives in Australia and is raising two young children. Mikki works as the coordinator of a Toy Library and Resource Centre for a large disability organisation.

(1994-1996) Raintangbeanbows

Christine Ahn is the Executive Director of Korea Policy Institute, an independent research and educational institute providing timely analysis of U.S. policies toward Korea. She co-wrote, with Kavita N. Ramdas, an article for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC. In August 2011, Christine went to Korea to visit Jeju Island.

Juliet Biagi & Kevin King have two wonderful daughters, Isabella and Lina. Juliet is doing grant work and service-learning consulting with Westminster High School and Kevin currently works for Mapleton Public Schools.

Christopher Hudak is a consultant in the fields of foreclosure intervention and home-ownership with the NeighborWorks America organization, and he is an instructor with the University of Colorado's Ronald E. McNair program.

(1995-1997) Transwalants

Jason Shiroff teaches fourth and fifth grade at the Odyssey School in Denver, Colorado.

Amy Johnson lives in Fort Collins where she studies in Colorado State University's MFA program in metals.  

(1996-1998) CEADS

Dave Delaney Elsner has been pursuing a Doctorate in Osteopathy from Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences and lives with his wife, Monica Delaney Elsner (Class of 2000) who is a busy mom, caring for their funny and active son, Finn.

(1997-1999) CurrentS

Scott Gorsky is a dad! He is also the Program Manager of Migrant Education & Supplemental Education Services in Englewood, CO and the President of the Englewood Board of Education.   

Stefanie Carroll is the Administrative Director of Academic Programs at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She serves as the chief administrator for the Constitutional Rights & Remedies, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Workplace Law and Corporate/Commercial Law programs, and she is a new mom. She and her husband Jason had a baby on September 21, 2011 named Seamus Carroll Brookes!

(1998-2000) sol • essence

Monica Delaney Elsner is a busy mom, caring for her son, Finn.  

Beth Schwarting moved to Los Angeles this summer to work in a community clinic with poor and underserved women and families as a nurse midwife.

Sabrina Sideris is the INVST Program Director as well as an instructor. She lives in community at the Masala Co-op and is on the board of the Boulder Housing Coalition, an organization that develops affordable housing.

(1999-2001) remoGoofic

Stephanie Bonin and her husband Keith Arnold just welcomed their second daughter into the world! Liliana Louise Arnold was born on August 16. They run 2 restaurants in Denver: duo and Olivea. They recently lived in Guatemala for 6 months where their oldest daughter had her first school experience at a Spanish-speaking Waldorf school.

Sarah Kraft currently works with Midwife International in Boulder, CO. She and her husband Pete just welcomed their second child!

Georgia Lindsay is currently finishing her dissertation for a PhD in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, while concurrently teaching architecture studio for the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research is on the Denver Art Museum and how the building affects the Denver community. She lives in Denver with her husband, and rides mountain bikes and plays roller derby for fun.

Hilary Moshman has earned her Masters degree in Public Health.

(2000-2002) Earth Tide

Dana Rose Garfin is a Doctoral Candidate in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine where she researchers the physical and mental health effects of community disasters. Her dissertation focuses on two projects related to the 2010 Chilean earthquake. In her free time, Dana enjoys meditation, yoga, pilates, surfing, and spending time with her dog.

Jamie Rezmovits is a lawyer in Denver. She also volunteers as the board president with Un Mundo, a community development organization in Honduras.  

Cristina (McIntyre) Smith and her husband welcomed their second child in April. They have two daughters, Ella, 5 and Sophia, 6 months. Christina works at a high-poverty elementary school as a math interventionist in Florida. She recently completed her Master's in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

(2001-2003) Rain Dancing Monkey Scrubbers

Audra Caravas lives in Berkeley, CA where she loves to dance and frequent a donation-based yoga studio called Yoga to the People.  She is earning her master’s at Mills College.

Elly Goetz is the director of Un Mundo, an organization in Honduras that helps developing communities by promoting dignity and self-sufficiency.

Jocelyn Rice lives in Great Barrington, MA with her teenage daughter Rowan. She is doing restaurant work, tending bar and waiting tables and gearing up to apply to graduate school to study counseling psychology.

(2002-2004) Ansamas 00 Reipi

J. Fox Magdovitz was married in June 2011 to Mitchell Magdovitz. She lives in Boulder and has her own massage therapy practice, Boulder Integrative Massage.

(2003-2005) T’ees bi Pura Vida

Amy Hutmacher is currently living in Santiago, Chile, where she works in IT. In her spare time, Amy works with organizations dedicated to housing for underserved populations.

David Meens co-wrote a report with Professor Ken Howe for the National Education Policy Center at CU that cautions against federal education policies that undermine democracy and local control of schools. David is earning his Ph.D. in Education Fundamentals, Policy & Practice in the School of Education at CU Boulder, while teaching with INVST. Also, David presented about INVST’s Domestic Summer Service Learning Experience: "Cultivating Ecological Citizenship through Experiential Education:  A Community-based Approach to Preparing Students for Effectively Addressing Environmental Challenges" was offered at the International Conference on Culture, Politics & Climate Change at CU last month.

Taliah Weber finished a Masters in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis in August.

(2004-2006) 14 RPMs

Alexis Bencze lives in Detroit where she is an ER doctor in her residency at the Henry Ford Hospital.

Jordan Brown is living in India with Amma, a spiritual teacher who inspires humanitarian projects and activities all over the world. Jordan is hoping to become a renunciate with Amma, someone who has renounced lay life, in order to pursue monastic life.

Matt De Caussin is working in Boulder with a tech start-up company and he lives communally at the Masala Co-op.

Tina (Chung) Kang is currently in her third year of graduate school in the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology program at George Fox University in the class of 2015. She is also working at Providence Health Care and Tina was engaged in July, 2012 and will be getting married in August, 2013!

Stephanie KoutavasStephanie Koutavas works for Pika Sign Language Interpreting Services and they were selected to interpret for President Obama's campaign stop in Golden, CO in September, 2012.

Jeny Reynolds married Andy Kuss on September 3, 2011.

Melissa Rubin cares for her two beautiful and rambunctious little boys, August and Orion, ages 5 and 2. She also works as the INVST Administrative Assistant and helps our organization thrive.

Annie Miller is leading a trip to South America with LEAPNOW.

Maren Gauldin is the Assistant Director of LEAPNOW and she lives north of San Francisco in Sonoma County.

(2005-2007) Sonar Shofar

Stacey Hammond recently graduated from the Island Wood Graduate Residency Program, receiving a graduate certificate in Environment, Education, and Community while teaching 4th - 6th grade students environmental science on Bainbridge Island, WA. In September, she moved to Seattle where she is currently working on a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction at the University of Washington.

Gisella Kagy is continuing to work on her PhD in Economics at CU-Boulder. She obtained her Masters in Economics in the Fall of 2011. She just completed four months of field work in Bangladesh working on a project that looks at the long-term benefits of childhood vaccination programs in developing countries.

Becca Kaplan is currently living in Anchorage, Alaska where she teaches reading and writing to English Language Learning high school students from all over the world. Additionally, she works on the district level to implement Social and Emotional Learning standards in our schools, and she teaches a graduate-level course for the University of Alaska Continuing Education program in Reading Apprenticeship. Becca says, “I would not be enjoying these and many more opportunities today if it weren't for the skills and insight I gained from INVST!”

Joanne (Esch) Meens lives in Boulder with her husband David and is attending graduate school at CU in Communication.

(2006-2008) Via Ajooba, Sol

Sierra Brashear works for Midwife International and currently lives in Boulder, CO.

Abby (Shepard) Eno married Sean Eno in September 2012! She currently works with Denver Area Youth Services doing HIV prevention and social work, and she serves on the INVST Fundraising & Advisory Board. She is planning a trip to South America for the Spring of 2013.

Avy Harris recently worked with INVST as a Summer Program Facilitator for our International Summer Service Learning Experience with the Euphorapours Class of 2013! Now she has dived even deeper into the work of international service-learning. After leading 2 semesters for Carpe Diem Education in East Africa, she is currently in Northern India facilitating another group.

Bridget Jankovsky is in a Masters Program at the University of Denver studying International Disaster Psychology. She is currently working toward her LPC and interning with Jewish Family Services as a counselor for refugee youth. She is expected to graduate in 2013.

Taylor Levy has completed her three-year term working as a full-time live-in volunteer at Annunciation House in El Paso, TX. She is now earning a Master’s at the University of Texas – El Paso and learning more about border issues.

Allie Van Buskirk is the co-chair person of INVST's Fundraising & Advisory Board and she was our Summer Program Facilitator on the DSSLE in 2011. She currently works for Denver Area Youth Services, which provides programs and services for youth in the Denver area.

Christopher Smith and his partner Merete Mueller built a tiny house, a 127-square foot home that was featured in 5280 Magazine and on KDVR.

Alyssa Willet works for University Parent, a resource for parents of college students. Alyssa graduated with her M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University in Virginia in May 2011 and loves being back in Colorado. Alyssa volunteers for INVST's Fundraising and Advisory Board and for the Next Generation Conference through the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) of which she is also a member.

(2007-2009) Nizhoni Raices

Jennifer Ambrose is currently a Wilderness Trip Leader.

Haley Sladek recently earned her Master's in education from Goddard College and she is teaching at the Patchwork School in Louisville, CO and helping to plan the International Democratic Education Conference ( Haley was an INVST Summer Program Facilitator in 2012!

Denise Weber graduated on May 6, 2011 with her BA from the Department of Political Science at CU-Boulder. She now lives and works in Boulder as a nanny.

(2008-2010) The 20 Cent Alternatives

Laura Berglund graduated from INVST and CU. She is currently settling back into Salt Lake City for a second winter season as a Ski Instructor at Alta. She will also volunteer and explore more community-based healing practices. Her hope is to discover something new and rewarding to which she can dedicate herself professionally.

After graduating from INVST and earning a bachelor's in Women and Gender Studies from CU, Julieanne Combest attended Naropa University for a Master's in Writing and Poetics. This past summer, she moved to American Samoa, an island in the South Pacific, where she is finishing her Master's thesis and creative manuscript while teaching Language Arts and Social Studies to 6th - 12th graders.

Amy Guinan worked with Clean Energy Action in Boulder, Along with other citizen groups including New Era, to pass 2B and 2C last November. 2B established a way to ascertain the feasibility of creating a municipal utility in the city of Boulder and 2C added language to the city charter for operating and governing a municipal utility. 2B was defeated and 2C was passed. Amy is now living in Nevada, caring for her family and teaching English as a Second Language at Truckee Meadow Community College in Tahoe.

Joy Hamilton is currently working as an Editor for and the Official State Vacation Guide in Superior, Colorado. This fall, Joy is applying to graduate school for mass communication with an emphasis in advertising ethics.

Edie Hulings and Jeff Fryer were married on August 27, 2011 in Boulder, CO! Edie is a teacher in Denver.

Brett WestBrett West is an activist in Massachusetts. After working with Grassroots Campaigns, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and Amnesty International, and recently, he participated in an activist training called the School for Creative Activism. On December 3, 2011 as part of the Occupy Movement, Brett organized a 99% Unity Rally in Copley Square, a popular park and commerce area in the city. Brett said, “The point of the rally was to bring various community organizations, interest groups, and activists together to celebrate and draw attention to the commonality and diversity of the 99%.”

Erika Larson lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is earning a Master’s in Education at Vanderbilt.

(2009-2011) Mai Tri Painters

Alicia Conte graduated from CU Boulder in May 2012 with a B.A. in Anthropology. She went on to be an intern with the Philanthropiece Foundation as the Program Coordinator of their Youth Global Leadership program. Alicia is currently traveling.

Molly Fitzpatrick works with New Era Colorado in Boulder where she is leading a Get Out the Vote campaign for young voters.

Hanna Johnson is the Marketing Content and Social Media Manager for Get Satisfaction in Los Angeles.

Brittni Hernandez graduated from INVST, went to Cuba in an academic program, and is part of Greenhouse Scholars, a program for high-achieving students. She was elected president of student government at CU-Boulder!

Kyle Huelsman received the prestigious Jacob Van Ek Scholar Award from CU-Boulder in May 2012. He serves in the student government at CU-Boulder.

Sarah Schnall is currently traveling through Latin America, to enhance her cultural understanding of the region and improve her language skills. She plans to use this experience to work for immigrant rights, back in the United States.

(2010 – 2012) Ripple Fever

Sally Anderson is teaching at the Patchwork School in Louisville, CO and helping to plan the International Democratic Education Conference (

Ashley Basta received the prestigious Jacob Van Ek Scholar Award from CU-Boulder in May 2012, and then went to work with EcoFlight in Aspen, CO!

Cayte Bosler interns at KGNU community radio and she had the opportunity to go on the Flight Across America with EcoFlight. She is earning her BA at CU.

Edmon Garibyan is currently looking for work with a legal firm and studying for the LSAT.

Olivia (“Lulu”) Jones Since graduating from INVST, Lulu has been working as the Program Coordinator for the Invention Foundation. She is also a substitute teacher at the Patchwork School, a democratic preschool in Louisville. She feels so lucky to still be in Boulder spending time with fellow Ripple Fevers!

Sinead Maguire works in Boulder, CO with Midwife International.

Laura Riley is currently studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, working on her Spanish and getting to know the rich culture of the city. She hopes to use her language skills to serve the immigrant community in her hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado upon her return to the States.

Congratulations to our most recent graduates of the Ripple Fever class, Sally Anderson, Ashley Basta, Cayte Bosler, Edmon Garibyan, Michael Gartman, Dana Goodwin, Lulu Jones, Kayla Kinch, Sofia Laguna, Sinead Maguire, Maura McDanel, Sammie Paston, Laura Riley, Renee Roberts, Sarah Ruebsamen and Carter Squires! Welcome to our alumni family!

Sign up now to become a monthly donor and support INVST! Please visit and fill out a monthly pledge form for INVST fund # 01-22427, or call us at 303-492-7719!

Making a monthly gift provides the reliable support that is so vital for INVST.  Each year, INVST serves 32 students through our 2-year Community Leadership Program alone.  The average cost for one student to participate in INVST's flagship program is $6,558.  Take a minute to consider the impact that INVST had on you, or on a friend, family member or former student.  Your monthly gift will help INVST provide another young person with a life-changing experience that will make a difference! 

Just think ... if each of our alumni donated $10 per month, they would collectively provide about $25,000 to INVST each year!

To get started today:

  • You determine the amount of your donation (even $10 will make a significant difference!)
  • We set up regular contributions with your credit card
  • You receive an annual giving statement for tax purposes

Your monthly gift will:

  • Allow INVST to offer month-long domestic and international summer service-learning programs to up to 32 students per year
  • Provide students with classes like "Facilitating Peaceful Community Change" and "Renewing Democracy in Communities and Schools"
  • Ensure the sustainability of an organization that develops engaged citizens and leaders who work for the benefit of humanity and the environment

Thank you for your support!

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Skyward: A Reflection on Opportunities Opened Up by INVST

By Ashley Basta (Class of 2012)

As an intern with EcoFlight, an INVST community partner and Aspen-based nonprofit, I discovered that the lifelong learning opportunities offered by INVST are even deeper and more meaningful than the timeline of the 2-year Community Leadership Program itself. INVST opened up the opportunity for me to intern with EcoFlight; even further, my experience in INVST prepared me to learn from and contribute to EcoFlight’s mission in the most meaningful way possible.

John Muir observed, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” The most important skill that I learned through INVST was to see social and environmental issues as fundamentally intertwined. EcoFlight’s mission is to educate and advocate for the environment through the unique perspective of flight. While I know from personal experience the capacity that EcoFlight’s work has to open people’s eyes in profound new ways, my understanding of the closeness between seemingly disparate people and places was first opened up through service-learning and reflection with INVST.

INVST sparked my passion for environmental and social justice, and my experience in the CLP prepared me experientially for the responsibilities I would face while working closely with an environmental nonprofit. Through practice with INVST, I learned to listen closely to the needs of the community into which I am entering. I learned the importance of active participation in relationship-building and of the impact that one can have when she speaks her cause and her truth.

The leadership skills I gained through INVST range from a base understanding of environmental issues to an ability to communicate those issues in an inspiring way. These skills proved to be incredibly meaningful in my ability to contribute to EcoFlight’s important work. As I prepare to embark upon the culmination of my internship—the facilitation of the Flight Across America Student Program—I reflect upon my experience with INVST and feel a sense of gratitude bigger than the sky.

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INVST Community Studies | University of Colorado Boulder
303-492-8045 | |
471 UCB Boulder, CO 80309-0471